For these families, the average credit card debt will likely linger a while. Further, according to CRL, many low- and moderate- income households still turn to credit cards to pay for basic expenses at the rate of 40 percent. Credit card debt has also stemmed from out-of-pocket medical costs for 47 percent of low and middle income families. And among families struggling with the challenges of unemployment, 86 percent racked up credit card debt.

So how are these debts doing across the country?

TransUnion’s analysis also compared credit card data by state. Only three states accomplished year-to-year debt declines from 2012-2013: Oregon, Nevada and Colorado. Despite Colorado’s steady decline in credit card debt, it remains one of the highest credit card debt states, along with Alaska, Connecticut and North Carolina.

Only two states, Indiana and New Hampshire, had credit card customers that increased usage during these years.

(Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at


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